Obstetricians and gynecologists are responsible for a woman’s reproductive health as well as the health of the unborn child carried by their pregnant patients. OB/GYNs are responsible for the care of the baby from the time it is in the womb until delivery. It is estimated that more than 50% of obstetricians and gynecologists will face at least one malpractice lawsuit during their professional careers.
Maloccurrence is an adverse outcome that is not related to the quality of care delivered (i.e., unavoidable risks, unpredictable complications, and informed choices made with the consent of the patient, but in hindsight may not have been appropriate). Malpractice involves demonstrated negligence ( a substandard practice that causes harm).
The most frequent cause of obstetrics and gynecology injuries are general medical mismanagement (such as failure to supervise or monitor), followed by negligence in a specific procedure and diagnostic problems. In a published article reviewing 500 obstetric and gynecologic claims, 17-26% of malpractice claims involved breaches in the standard of care by the physician.
Some types of mistakes made by OB/GYNs which result in injuries include:
- Negligence during labor and delivery
- Failure to order appropriate tests (e.g., mammograms and pap smears)
- Improper reading of mammograms and failure to follow-up appropriately
- Inadequate performance of pap smears
- Negligence in endometriosis or fibroid tumor treatment
- Mistakes made during laparoscopic surgery
- Improper prenatal care during pregnancy
- Complications of abortion (e.g., loss of childbearing ability)
- Contraception (e.g., failure to prevent pregnancy)
- Failure to detect ectopic or tubal pregnancy
- Inadequate communication with peers as well as patients
- Negligent hysterectomy
These forms of malpractice can have grave consequences including delayed diagnosis of cancer that could be fatal. Cases of malpractice during pregnancy and childbirth can result in unnecessary risks and complications such as disability or disfigurement of mother or child. Downsizing and cost-cutting in hospitals have led to the early discharge of the postpartum mother and newborn. This leads to a lack of proper evaluation of mom and baby. Trends in obstetric care have made some areas of practice vulnerable to mistakes.
OB/GYN practice has changed over the past decade in response to increases in malpractice suits. As a result, the prevalence of Caesarean section births has increased, and the rate of natural childbirths has decreased. However, Caesarean sections come with risks for injury to both mother and newborn and are not always an appropriate course of action.What to Do If You Suspect You or Your Child Has Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you or someone you love has suffered as the result of OB/GYN medical malpractice, call a Maryland malpractice attorney at 800-553-8082 or get a free no-obligation medical misdiagnosis consultation.
- Medical Malpractice in Maryland (information on malpractice cases generally)
- Birth Injury Claims
- Herpes Encephalitis Lawsuits
- Medical Malpractice FAQ
- Sample Medical Malpractice Complaints
- Example Deposition of Medical Negligence Defendant
* | All Content Written by Miller & Zois Attorney Ron Miller